Five Tips for Leaving Summer Behind

By Tonia Ferguson
Director, Autism NOW Center

Summer is almost over and for most kids, it’s back to school time! Most parents look forward to their children’s days being filled with more structure and routines as they head back to school. However, many parents do not realize how much anxiety a child might feel when this time of year comes around.

Transitioning back into the school routine may pose challenges not only for the child, but for parents as well. Since you cannot make school disappear, the best option is to make this transition as smooth as possible. To help your family deal with the franticness that can often accompany this time of year, here are a few tips that I’ve learned after 11 years of back-to-school preparations.

Start talking about it. All the back-to-school commercials and sales on school supplies at local stores certainly make it hard to avoid back-to-school time. Casually ask about your child’s excitement or nerves and hear what they have to say.

Slowly initiate structure. By mid-August, slowly start transitioning your family back into the school-year schedule. Begin changing evening routines such as pushing your child’s bedtime to an earlier time.

Make it fun. Designate a special day for back to school shopping. When shopping for supplies, spend time looking at all of the choices, even the silly ones. After the first day of school, consider having  a celebratory dinner or ice cream to celebrate.

Pack up the night before. Mornings are not the time to rush around in search of missing homework, assignments or permission slips. After dinner each night, sit down with your child and discuss the needs for the next day. Make sure everything is in the right folder and placed in the right backpack. Don’t forget to make the school lunches as well!

Above all, remain positive. The start of a new school year should be a fun and exciting time – not something to be dreaded. If we, as parents, have a good attitude toward a new school year, so too will our children.

Best wishes for a successful, stress-free school year!

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